MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai and Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader Joice Mujuru will be conspicuous by their absence when the country’s opposition leaders open talks on a proposed coalition in South Africa tomorrow.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Leaders of opposition parties, particularly the presidents, areworking with the South Africa-based international think-tank In Transformative Initiative (ITI), which agreed to facilitate the talks to pave way for the selection of a single candidate to face President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections.
Opposition leaders have been talking about a coalition for a long time without success, prompting ITI to intervene.
While some opposition leaders were excited and confirmed their participation, others were not forthcoming.
“Why can’t you wait for the meetings to go ahead? I don’t think the process is ready for the public and you might not realise how much you will be prejudicing the whole thing. We will come back to you when we are ready,” said one of the opposition leaders.
A consultative meeting was reportedly held on Wednesday with about 13 parties agreeing to take part in the dialogue, but the MDC-T and ZimPF expressed no interest.
“The MDC-T was represented by its secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and deputy chairman Morgen Komichi, while ZimPF was represented by Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Didymus Mutasa. I think they are no longer interested or they want to form their own separate thing,” said one of the opposition leaders.
“The MDC-T representatives said their principal was not interested, while ZimPF insisted that coalition talks must be handled in Zimbabwe without external influence.”
Bhasikiti confirmed the Wednesday meeting, where his party showed no interest in the talks.
“There are political parties invited to discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe. We were there at the meeting you are referring to on Wednesday, but it is not true we walked out,” he said.
“We were in the meeting until the closing prayer, but ZimPF might not be participating in South Africa in the same way the MDC-T might not be participating.”
Asked why they were not interested, Bhasikiti said ZimPF did not get the agenda of the meeting.
“They didn’t send the agenda and we decided that we cannot participate in the meeting. A coalition will not be formed in South Africa,” he said.
“As political parties, we are not working against the coalition. We are, however, going to approach that stage using our own parameters and doctrine through the National Electoral Reform Agenda [Nera] grouping.
“No one from outside can tell us how to work together as a coalition when in fact we are working together under Nera.”
Bhasikiti said they did not believe outsiders’ influence would help solve the Zimbabwean crisis.
Already, some parties have joined hands and are working under the Coalition of Democrats to field a sole candidate to face Mugabe in 2018.
Mwonzora and Komichi were not available to clarify their participation at the meeting.
ITI is an organisation that seeks to assist and support peace-making processes by drawing from the South African experience.
The organisation works towards promoting dialogue among citizens, government and any other sectors, where conflict and violence exists or might become a possibility.